Awkwafina, the rapper-slash-actress and Queens native, is set to release her new Comedy Central show, Awkwafina is Nora From Queens, on January 22nd. The autobiographical TV show is a comical homage to her roots in Forest Hills and when she was known as Nora Lum (that is, prior to going viral on Youtube, winning her recent Golden Globe for The Farewell and being the breakout star in films such as Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians...and, of course, as our very own Time Out New York cover girl). As you might've read from us, Awkwafina's voice has taken over the announcements on the 7 train as part of the show's promotion.
So far, the show has received mostly positive reviews, particularly for its portrayal of Asian-American families—one of the few TV episodes to feature all Asian leads—but one significant storyline that's been overlooked thus far is the distinct relationship to food. Awkwafina has said that her great-grandfather previously owned a restaurant. “[He had] one of the first Chinese restaurants in Flushing, New York. It was open from the 1950s to the 1980s. It was a big, successful business called Lum’s—this mythical family institution,” she shared in a 2017 interview. In that same interview, she details a “shady” past as a restaurant reviewer, paid to say positive things about government-favored restaurants in Beijing as well as stints working at a Japanese restaurant and a vegan bodega in New York.
Food plays a role throughout the series, with many of its most hilarious (and touching) moments taking place at the dinner table.
Episode 1: 83 Kien Tuong Restaurant (83 Chrystie St, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
Episode 1: Union Pool (484 Union Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
Episode 2: Queens Mall Food Court (90-15 Queens Blvd, Elmhurst, Queens)
Episode 4: Hunan Kitchen Restaurant (42-47 Main St, Flushing, Queens)
Episode 4: Nomad Café (67-14 Forest Ave, Ridgewood, Queens)
Episode 9: Jekyll & Hyde Nightclub (91 7th Ave South, Midtown, Manhattan)
Episode 9: Amadeus Nightclub (79-51 Albion, Elmhurst, Queens)
Awkwafina is Nora From Queens is the latest TV show to shoot at recognizable New York City venues.
In recent years, Succession has used the American Irish Historical Society as a location for the Roy home. And, on Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, a Nolita butcher shop known for its cheerful red exterior, Albanese Meats and Poultry, made a cameo. Not to mention, the diner Chelsea Square Restaurant can be seen in Pose and the East Village's 7B Horseshoe Bar is referenced in Russian Doll.
For more entertainment history, check out our recently reviewed restaurant, Porcelain in Ridgewood, which was once a filming location for The Irishman.
Awkwafina is Nora From Queens will premiere on Comedy Central on January 22nd, 2020 at 10:30pm EST.